Everyone using Maven should pay attention to what Don Brown is doing. He’s reached a level of frustration with Maven, and he’s decided to start working on his own branch. Luckily some people on the core Maven team have noticed and have started porting some of his performance changes back into Maven proper.
Branching, forking, whatever you want to call it… should be much more common in open source Java. Even though we use tools that support it (or do we? see my previous post about SVN vs GIT), you rarely see the discussion on a developer list that mentions someone’s branch. Hopefully people like Don will inspire more people to start forking the projects they use.
Open source isn’t about convincing a centralized “project committee” that your changes have merit, it is about decentralized innovation. Over the last few years, I’ve come to the realization that open source communities can be detrimental to innovation, real innovation comes from ad-hoc, decentralized code revolutions like Don’s. Too often, open source Java dev lists are full of noisy arguments about what to do and how to do it while building consensus. We’d all be better off if people forked first and discussed later.